A Samsung Galaxy S9 in front of a brick wall with the Visible logo on the display.

There’s a lot to like about Verizon’s service — a large network, plenty of devices, and a nice suite of perks. However, it all comes at the Verizon price, which is expensive. That’s where Visible, a low-cost Verizon service, comes in. It’s not an MVNO, but it’s not Verizon-proper either. Confused? We’ll help clear everything up right here.

See also: The best Visible deals

Visible only offers one plan — yes, just one — so we’ll walk you through the nitty-gritty as well as a few of the best phones available. The carrier’s unique status may sound complicated, but the most important thing to know is it’s a great way to save some money. Ready to try Verizon’s new alternative? Let’s dive in.

Visible at a glance

There’s not much to say when it comes to Visible’s history. The carrier has only been around for a few years, and it’s wholly-owned by Verizon and runs on Verizon’s network.You can check out the map of Visible’s coverage right here.

Visible isn’t easy to track down at the Better Business Bureau, either. However, the page we did track down doesn’t have the kindest things to say about Verizon’s prepaid pal. It carries an F-rating and a one-star average review from customers. As a small but growing carrier, there have been 177 complaints in the last three years and 172 of which have been in the past 12 months. To be fair, every carrier seems to have poor ratings. When things go wrong, customers complain. When things go right, we usually stay silent.

For what it’s worth, several members of our team have used and recommend Visible. It has a few quirks, but it’s mostly a great deal. 

The Plan

Well, we can keep this section pretty short and sweet, because there’s only one plan to sign up for. It’s easiest to organize into a table though, so check out the fast facts right here:

 Visible
Cost$40 per month
As low as $25 with Party Pay
Talk and TextUnlimited
DataUnlimited
HotspotUnlimited, capped at 5Mbps
StreamingStandard Definition (480p)
Customer ServiceVirtual, no physical stores

Now that you’ve got the basics, what makes Verizon’s Visible plan so good? You not only get unlimited talk and text, but you also get unlimited data that can be used for a mobile hotspot with no throttling. The only downside is that Visible caps hotspot use to 5Mbps, at least according to the carrier agreement. In reality, many users don’t run into throttling unless they are in more congested areas. Still, it’s something to be aware of. 

The plan costs just $40 per month for a single line, but Party Pay can slash your bill down to $25 per month if you go in with three friends. Each of you pays individually, and one late payer doesn’t impact the others, but you’ll all save the same amount of money.

You can stream video to your heart’s content at 480p standard definition, and you can access customer service any time and any place too. Keep in mind this is true unlimited data, with our very own Andrew Grush regularly pushing well past 20GB a month and with months that have gone over 50GB. No extra fees, no unnecessary throttling. 

Highlights:

  • One plan, one rate
  • Everything is unlimited

Best for:

  • Anyone who wants Verizon’s network but doesn’t want Verizon’s prices

Visible vs the competition

Metro by T Mobile logo on phone stock photo 1

Credit: Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Since Visible isn’t really an MVNO, it makes sense to compare it to other non-MVNO competitors. To that end, we’ve set it head-to-head with Metro by T-Mobile and Cricket Wireless. Each is wholly-owned by another one of the Big Three, and they share similar structures. Google Fi makes the cut as well because although it’s an MVNO it relies on T-Mobile and US Cellular for service and is a unique hybrid option.

All of our favorite prepaid options can be found on the list of the Best prepaid and no-contract plans in the US as well. Check out the table for more details:

 Metro by T-Mobile Better UnlimitedVisibleCricket Wireless Cricket MoreGoogle Fi Unlimited
Cost$60 for one line
$90 for two lines
$120 for three lines
$120 for four lines
$40 per line$60 for one line
$90 for two lines
$110 for three lines
$130 for four lines
$70 for one line
$60 for two lines
$50 for three lines
$45 for four lines
Talk and TextUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
DataUnlimited up to 35GBUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited up to 22GB 4G LTE
Host NetworkT-MobileVerizonAT&TT-Mobile
US Cellular
InternationalAvailableNot AvailableMexico and Canada usage up to 50%
Texting to 37 countries
Free calls to over 50 countries
Free texts and data abroad
Extras100GB Google One storage
Amazon Prime
15GB Mobile hotspot
Mobile hotspotStandard Definition streaming
15GB Mobile hotspot
Full-speed hotspot
Google One membership

Metro by T-Mobile

Although Metro is technically a separate carrier, it’s wholly-owned by T-Mobile and acts as an MVNO on the network. That means it can offer its own unique set of plans with varying talk, text, and data at great rates.

The carrier’s unlimited plans each include 100GB of Google One cloud storage, and the $60 plan comes with an Amazon Prime membership. Metro’s plans don’t include international service in the base price, but you can add talk and text to hundreds of countries for a price.

Highlights:

  • 10GB 4G LTE data from $40 per month
  • Hotspot data included on unlimited plans
  • 100GB Google One storage with unlimited plans

Google Fi

Google Fi isn’t owned by a single carrier, and that’s good news for you when it comes to service. The hybrid MVNO uses T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular towers to constantly switch to the best signal available. Fi supports an absolutely massive list of phones, covering options from many major US manufacturers as well as Huawei and even Red Hydrogen.

As for the plan, Google Fi’s unlimited plan is a great international option. You can call over 50 countries and territories for free, and contact with other areas can start at just one penny. Each line gets unlimited data up to 22GB, a Google One membership, and full-speed hotspot tethering.

Highlights:

  • Impressive phone support
  • Plenty of international connection
  • Google One membership included

Cricket Wireless

Cricket’s most expensive option, the Cricket More plan, offers the best Cricket has to offer along with 15GB of a monthly hotspot. You can text 37 other countries and you can even use your service in Canada or Mexico as long as it’s less than 50% of your overall usage.

Many of the best Cricket features are available as add-ons, so it’s easy to run your bill up by a few bucks. However, that’s really the secret to unlocking Cricket’s full potential. Options include more hotspot, better international access, and extra data on select plans.

Highlights:

  • Customizable service with add-ons
  • 15GB of hotspot included

Visible alternatives that run on the same network

There are a number of other MVNOs that rely on the same Big Red network, though they don’t have the same close relationship. Check out the table below for our favorite options:

 US MobileRed PocketPagePlusTotal Wireless
CostBuild your own with talk, text, and data for as little as $5 per month
Unlimited from $40 per month
Limited plans as low as $10 per month
Unlimited plans for $60 per month
Limited plans as low as $12 per month
Unlimited plans for $55 per month
1 line starts at $23.70 for 1GB 4G LTE data
1 line up to $47.50 for 25GB 4G LTE data
Talk & TextStarts at 75 minutes for $2
Starts at 50 texts for $1.50
$10 plan includes 500 texts and 500 minutes
Plans above $15 include unlimited talk and text
500 minutes talk and 500 texts for $12
Unlimited for all other plans
Unlimited
DataStarts at 50MB for $1.50Starts at 500MB for $10
Unlimited data for $60
100MB for $12
3GB 4G LTE for $30
8GB 4G LTE for $40
Unlimited for $55
up to 25GB high-speed data
HotspotAdd 10GB to the Unlimited All plan for $5Hotspot availableNot availableUp to 10GB on plans above $50
InternationalUp to 10GB for Unlimited plansFree calls to 80 countriesPlans above $12 include $10 international calling card$10 global calling card available
ExtrasPick your subscription perks with 2, 3, and 4 line plans
5G access available
Free SIM cardVideo streams at DVD qualityEarn rewards points that can be used to pay for service

US Mobile

US Mobile is a unique Verizon MVNO in that you can build your plan just how you like it. In fact, everyone in your entire family can customize a plan. You pick your talk, text, and data, and US Mobile gives you a price. There’s even a brand-new unlimited plan that costs just $40 per month. The unlimited plan offers your choice of subscription services for free with 2, 3, and 4 line plans.

Red Pocket

You may not be as familiar with Red Pocket, but it’s an effective way to save money thanks to its variety of plans. There are plenty of limited service options to choose from all the way up to unlimited access. Red Pocket actually runs on all of the Big Three networks, but you’ll lock into a carrier when you sign up.

PagePlus

PagePlus is similar to Red Pocket with varying tiers of limited and unlimited service. The pricing structure is about the same as well, but PagePlus puts a warning on its website about using more than 60GB of data per month. You can also opt for pay-as-you-go minutes, data add-on cards, and international add-on cards.

Total Wireless

Total Wireless has a number of single-line and family plans, and each includes unlimited talk and text. The data is unlimited as well, though you have to pay more for unlimited high-speed access. Total’s basic unlimited plans offer just 1GB of high-speed data before you fall back down to 2G speeds.

What phones can you use?

A picture of the Samsung galaxy s20 plus review vs google pixel 4 xl.

Thanks to its Verizon affiliation, Visible has an impressive list of the latest and greatest phones on the market. You can’t choose from all of Big Red’s devices, but the latest Galaxy S20 family is an option as well as the powerful Google Pixel 4. Visible offers Apple’s iPhone 11 family and the new SE too, but the real value is in budget-friendly devices.

If you’re looking to save some money, the Motorola Moto g7 Power and Moto e6 can each be had for less than $200. Free is a great price too and you can get the ZTE Blade A3 Prime for nothing when you switch. Of course, if you have a Sprint or Verizon device already then you can bring your device along no sweat. Visible is a CDMA carrier, which means that GSM options like AT&T and T-Mobile won’t work quite as well.

See also: The best phone deals

Band support is a key component of bringing a device, no matter whether you have a GSM or CDMA phone. Visible relies on the same bands as Verizon, so Big Red will have to approve any device you plan to bring over. Check the table below for details:

FrequencyBandNetwork Supported
1900MHz22G
3G
4G LTE
1700MHz/2100MHz4
66
3G and 4G LTE
4G LTE
850MHz52G
3G
4G LTE
700MHz134G LTE

Frequently asked questions

Q: Who owns Visible?
A: Visible is wholly owned and ran by Verizon Wireless. 

Q: Does Visible have a physical store presence?
A: No, Visible is different from other carriers and even most MVNOs. There’s no physical presence and the only way to sign up is via the official Visible app.

Q: Does Visible have a customer service or contact number?
A: Again, because of its unique nature — no. All troubleshooting and customer service is done online via the app or Visible’s website. 

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